October 9, 2012

Happy, Healthy Camping

I love camping – hot weather, cold weather, on the coast by the ocean or in a corn-field in the Midwest I’m always ready to go.  I love the fire, the walks, the camaraderie, the sleeping bags and the sounds of campers waking up in the morning.  One thing I have never liked, however, is camping “food”.  Because I stopped eating meat at a young age, I have never participated in the traditional burgers and hotdogs.  It has always been difficult for me to enjoy eating away from home when staying out in the woods because I always felt that my options were very limited.  When we walked around camp this past weekend, I noticed the snacks other campers had.  Kids were filling up on candy and family sized bags of chips.  Gallons of sodas lined the picnic tables and everyone seemed to be sitting around eating. 

Camping should be a time to celebrate friends and family time, to relax and to partake in special rituals that you do not generally indulge in at home and I believe this includes food choices as well.  What is a camping trip without ‘Smores or other favorites you grew up with?  However, I do not think that camping needs to be a free-for-all where families gorge on unhealthy foods and kids get to eat whatever junk foods they want to. 

We went camping so many times this year that I kept my gear in the trunk of my car so we were always ready to go and I feel that we also finally conquered healthy eating, even out in the wilderness.  Packing the cooler full of fresh fruit, easy-to-grab sandwiches made at home, a gallon of water, and left-over dinner we heat up in foil over the fire allows us to feel healthy even when our routine has been changed.  We may throw in some trail mix, pretzels and ‘smore material, but the majority of camp-fare is light and based on choices I know are healthy for our bodies. 

Here are some tips we follow when camping, traveling, or headed on road trips any time of the year:

1.        Fruit first!  Veggies and fruit are easy to pack and make great snacks on the go.
2.       Choose your beverages carefully.   Water is best, especially when you are being active or hiking.
3.       Balance your meals by including a carbohydrate, protein, and fat choice.  Think outside the box; even left-overs heated up can be a good option when traveling. 
4.       Take a break from eating.  Humans do not need continual intake – when you’re away from home, have a meal and then go out and experience activities away from food.  It will be there when you get back and you can have a meal together as a group at that time.   (This is especially true for kids and “snackers”). 
5.       There’s always room for a treat on a special occasion.  Remember:  moderation. 

Happy camping!  The season isn’t over quite yet…..

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. Camping should be healthy and safe as well as.
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